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Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, the gifted young cosmologist Janna Levin not only announces the central theme of her intriguing and controversial new book but establishes herself as one of the most direct and unorthodox voices in contemporary science. For even as she sets out to determine how big “really big” may be, Levin gives us an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist, complete with jet lag and romantic disturbances.
Nimbly synthesizing geometry, topology, chaos and string theories, Levin shows how the pattern of hot and cold spots left over from the big bang may one day reveal the size and shape of the cosmos. She does so with such originality, lucidity—and even poetry—that How the Universe Got Its Spots becomes a thrilling and deeply personal communication between a scientist and the lay reader.
“[Levin] covers … fascinating ground….She writes passages that may make you either feel claustrophobic for only living in three visible dimensions or see the night sky in an entirely new way.” —Baltimore City Paper
“Science as it is lived…. [Levin’s] book is a gift to those people who want to think big but came to a screeching halt about two dozen pages into… A Brief History of Time.” —Discover
“Levin unpacks the technicalities with a skill honed from giving many lectures. . . . A book to be applauded.” — The Scotsman
“Lovely and utterly original. . . . Mixing lucid arguments with anecdotes and personal experiences, Levin makes it easy to understand seemingly complicated subjects such as transfinite arithmetic, naked singularities and compact spaces. . . . A marvelous diary that makes a reader long to meet the author. —American Scientist